William "Bill" Minor October 10, 1920 - August 30, 2018

September 11, 2018

Bill Minor, 97, of Kirksville passed away on Thursday August 30, 2018 at the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, MO. He was surrounded by his loving family. The son of James (Jay) and Geneva (Jones) Minor, Bill was born on October 10, 1920 at his grandmother’s home in Macon, MO. On November 3, 1943 in Lincoln, NE, Bill was united in marriage to Dolores Lorraine O’Connor and celebrated sixty-four wonderful years of marriage. Bill was a proud lifetime resident of Kirksville. He graduated from Kirksville High School in 1938 and Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (later renamed Truman State University) in 1942.
Bill’s journey from Kirksville to North Germany and back again began at the airfield at Millard, MO. As a student he had attempted to join the Army Air Corps in 1939, but everything changed on December 7, 1941. He wanted to fly, but the Army suggested he stay in college to get his degree. While in college, Bill proactively signed up for Civilian Pilot Training and earned his pilot’s license. In 1942, Bill was ready to enlist and entered Cadet Training to become a single engine fighter pilot, expecting to fly the P-51 Mustang. “Unhappily,” Bill was reassigned to the 703rd Bombardment Squadron, and was transferred to Sioux City, Iowa for training to pilot the B-24 Liberator serving under the command of Capt. Jimmy Stewart. “Fortunately,” however, it was in Iowa that he would meet his soon-to-be wife Dolores. In December of 1943, the 703rd plane named Gremlin’s Roost took flight to England and immediately began combat operations. On the night of January 5, 1944, Bill and three other survivors aboard the B-24 were shot down, captured and spent the next 17 months in a Nazi POW camp. His camp was liberated on May 20, 1945. After the war, Bill and Dolores returned to Kirksville.

For 38-years, Bill taught as a professor in the Industrial Arts Department at Truman State University, while continuing to serve in the Airforce Reserve until 1970. In 1960 Bill restarted and served as President of the Adair County Democratic Club and belonged to the Green Hills POW Association. More recently he enjoyed ham radio, electronics, computers, woodworking, home remodeling and playing bridge with friends.

Bill was preceded in death by his loving wife Dolores, parents James and Geneva Minor and Sister Gene (Minor) Weigel and many other dear aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. He is survived by his son Tom and Peg (Neeve) Minor of Beloit, WI; daughter Claudia Minor of Kirksville; son Jem and Sharon (Magee) Minor of Baldwin, KS; daughter Diane (Minor) Wiand of West Des Moines, IA; and God child Kathy Sparks of Urbandale, IA. He is also survived by his grandchildren Bill and Diana Minor, Grady Feldman, Richard Minor, Sam Feldman, Leah and Josh Holcomb, Paul Minor and Anna Braun, Stephanie Minor; and great grandchildren, Tyler Johnson, Aubrey, Graham and Miles Holcomb.

The service of Christian burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Kirksville. Internment at Highland Park Cemetery and a light lunch at Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home will follow. Public Visitation will be held 6:00 to 8:00p.m. Friday September 7, 2018 with a Liturgical Vigil Service, including recitation of the Rosary, at 7:30 p.m. in the chapel of Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home in Kirksville.

Expressions of sympathy in memory of Bill Minor may be made to: Adair County Humane Society, Hopes Kitchen or DAV Local Chapter 48.

Arrangements under the direction of Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home, www.davisplaylehudsonrimer.com.